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DM-1 Pre-Launch Presser

DM-1 Pre-Launch Presser



  • Stephanie Martin, NASA Communications


  • Kathy Lueders, Manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program

  • Hans Koenigsmann, Vice President of Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX

  • Joel Montalbano, Deputy Manager, International Space Station Program

  • Pat Forrester, Chief, Astronaut Office, Johnson Space Center

  • Melody Lovin, Launch Weather Officer, 45th Weather Squadron

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Good afternoon and welcome to NASA's Kennedy Space Center. We are here today for the SpaceX Demo-1 mission pre-launch news conference with NASA managers and SpaceX managers, as well as someone from the 45th Space Wing. Let me introduce today's panelists. We have Kathy Lueders, NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. We have Hans Koenigsmann, Vice President of Build and Flight Reliability with SpaceX. Joel Montalbano, Deputy Manager for the International Space Station Program located at Johnson Space Center. Pat Forrester, the Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center. And Melody Lovin, the Launch Weather Officer for the 45th Weather Squadron. We will begin with opening remarks from our panel here in the room, and then we will open it up for questions. Once we answer some questions from here in the room, we will take questions from the phone bridge. And if you're at home following along, you can send in your questions on social media using the hashtag #askNASA. I'd like to open it up with Kathy.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for coming. This is a big day for us, obviously. We're getting ready to go fly our first uncrewed mission with what will be our crewed design of the SpaceX Dragon. And I have a little video here. Of course we have to have a video. Here we are, we're NASA. First one out. And it's going to show how important this flight test is for us from a learning perspective. So can you play that?

[video is shown:]

Kathy Lueders, CCP: So this mission will be, if you can run the first slide? There's some really key objectives. Hans will be talking a little bit more about some of the work that SpaceX has been doing getting ready, but from a NASA perspective, we're really wanting to see the on-orbit performance. How the systems are really working together. The key, obviously avionics, docking, making sure comm and telemetry with the International Space Station and the ground is working properly. And then we're going to be learning from the ECLSS systems and the power systems. Solar arrays and electrical power systems. It's really, power generation on orbit, and how all of our estimates on power budget and how the system's working are really, really critical. Like the folks were saying in the video, this is an invaluable exercise for us to learn in the space environment how these systems will be working. And then making sure that these systems are ready to go for when we're going to put our crews on them.

And then, you know, there's, their Launch Escape System will be in monitor mode. So that's really important, because for the next mission, obviously we need to have our key abort systems working. And so it's important to be able to go take those parameters then and make sure that those parameters are appropriate then for us to insure that the systems are going to be functioning when we need them to function and are set properly. And then, the part that people don't talk about often is, we talk about the hardware, and the software, but we don't talk about the people systems. And it's really us figuring out how to operate together and work together, so that the next time, when we're working together to fly our crews, we can do that in a safe and efficient manner. You know, Hans and I feel like we've been going to reviews for the last few weeks, maybe weeks of reviews. But that's all really important for us to go figure out how we need to work this for when it's our crewed missions. Next slide.

So I really appreciate it. You know, we have a quick timeline. We're getting ready, obviously, for a launch early in the morning, on Saturday morning. And looking at then docking about 27 hours later with a five day mission. And then reentry and splashdown on the fifth day. Obviously we're going to have to be working together and learning from this experience as we go through the whole demonstration mission and making sure that each aspect of the systems that we'll be trying out will be then applied will be then applied to our crewed missions, and making sure that those systems are as safe as possible. So thank you for coming and showing your interest in this. For us, which is a huge day for our program.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Thank you Kathy. Hans?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Thanks, Kathy. Yeah, we're targeting 2:49 on a Saturday morning, early in the morning. This is the east coast time, here. And we're targeting that time for the first launch of the Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. There's a backup launch opportunity on the Tuesday March 5, an hour earlier. But also the middle of the night. In case we have weather or some other issues on Saturday morning. SpaceX learned a lot over the past 70 missions and the past 16 Dragon missions. And everything we learned, everything we experienced is basically in this particular Dragon version in this particular mission. We've done an incredible amount of testing together with NASA and made sure that everything is safe and ready to go. And I do have a small video too, just to stay on topic.

[video begins:]

Okay, this is the whole stack Falcon 9 and Dragon on top. This is Dragon naked, and dressed. [laughs] This is way fast. This is the acoustic test. Here's the docking test. And you can see the docking mechanism. Yeah, there it goes. This is the EMI test. You see an antenna going around and basically measuring the emissions. This is a hover test, it's been a while ago. Exercising the SuperDracos that are also our Launch Escape System. That's the nosecone deploy test. [about the video editing] It's fast. Um, mission control. [laughs] And here we go to the human interface. This is the control panels there. This is a drop test with a parachute. You can see, there's actually four parachutes, as opposed to three on Dragon 1. Here's the crew access arm, which connects the tower with the Falcon 9 and Dragon launch vehicle. [video ends] And this was really fast. I'm sorry. I had to speed this up [laughs] I wish I could make this a little bit slower. But I hope you got everything, all the technical details that I talked about. [laughter]

The Dragon will be deployed about eleven minutes, actually I have a slide on that one, about the timeline. Maybe I can do that. I talked about the launch time already, 2:49. It's our first launch from LC-39A [in 2019]. We do attempt to recover the first stage on the drone ship. Next one please. Alright. This is the timeline of the launch itself. We start out basically with a call on 45 minutes before launch. The first thing we do is we arm the Launch Escape System. And that is to keep Dragon and, later, the crew safe. Actually before there is propellant on board. And the entire time while we are actually loading it. It's very important. There's also nobody on the launch pad anymore, at that time. At 35 minutes before launch, we start loading RP-1 on both the first and second stage. And we then start loading LOX on the first stage right around the same time, I think actually. The second stage always amazes me, because we start loading at T-16 minutes. And it's relatively fast, but you've got to keep in mind, we actually empty the tank even faster, in a couple minutes when we run it through the engine. So it's actually not that fast, in perspective. While we begin chilling all the engines prior to launch, at about seven minutes before [launch]. We transition Dragon to internal power at five minutes. A minute before launch, the vehicle goes into a computer controlled mode, and we begin pressurizing the tanks on the Falcon 9. And then at 45 seconds, we have the LD, the Launch Director, confirm that we're still good to go with the range and NASA. And then at T-3 seconds we start spinning up the engines, and then at T-0... T-0 is liftoff.

Next one, please? In flight itself, it's somewhat similar to other launches. But I still want to repeat a little bit what we do. Around a minute into flight, you have Max-Q. That's basically the maximum dynamic pressure that the vehicle sees. Two and a half minutes into flight we have main engine cutoff on the first stage. Followed by stage separation, engine start. And then the second stage is on its way, while the first stage actually performs an entry burn around seven minutes after launch. The second stage engine cutoff is at roughly nine minutes, I think? Yes, nine minutes. And actually before we land the first stage. The stage itself lands nine and a half minutes after T-0. Actually close to ten. And then Dragon, as I mentioned, separates eleven minutes after launch and goes on its journey on its own. Dragon will perform three burns and approach the station within roughly 30 hours. We expect docking to happen on early Sunday morning then, at 6AM. That's roughly the timeframe. [looks at Joel] I know you're going to talk about that a little bit more. [laughs] So.

Dragon will be on station for a couple of days. We are planning to depart the station on March 8. And then it will perform a couple of orbits, about five hours. And then perform an entry burn, reentry burn, rather, and land actually near the Atlantic. That is different from Dragon 1, which always landed in the Pacific. It takes about 35-40 minutes after the burn to get to the atmosphere, deploy the two drogues and the four main chutes, and then land safely in the water and get picked up by a boat on standby in the area. And that obviously is something we have to practice in preparation for actually crew flight. Make sure that we are first on the right spot, that we have all the potential medical attention at the right time, and so that's going to be exciting for us to get everything. This is a very important training for us, to get this right for the crew flight coming up next.

The task ahead of us is really historic. I really want to thank NASA for the opportunity. And yeah. Thank you very much. On behalf of all SpaceX employees. Also now, our teams worked really hard on this. Shout out to the Dragon team and also the Falcon team that did great work over the past, actually, years. And in particular, in the past couple of months, working through an incredible amount of detailed issues, making sure the capsule is safe to fly.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: And you know, I have a surprise for you, Hans.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: You do?

Kathy Lueders, CCP: So, I think we have a picture of rollout? Or a video. You want to show that? There it is. Getting ready.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: I'm actually, I came from the pad on the way up here. [laughter]

Kathy Lueders, CCP: That's kind of anti-climactic. [laughs] Sorry.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: We actually went up the tower. And I was really impressed. I mean, everything is in top condition. Everything is freshly painted. It looks great. I'm really amazed by what this team did in the past couple of weeks. And I'm pretty sure, you know, we're going to see a great launch and a great mission. So I'm really optimistic.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Joel?

Joel Montalbano, ISS Program: Alright. Well, welcome again to the Demo-1 pre-launch briefing. Kathy and Hans have talked about all the work that's been done to get us here. It's been a journey. Just an incredible amount of work and an incredible amount of team effort. We take a fully functional International Space Station Program with crews going up and down, doing daily science and research on board. We bring in a Commercial Crew Program that brings in two providers that'll be docking vehicles to the International Space Station. We integrate all that work with our international partners. It's just an incredible task. And it brings an excitement back to KSC that we haven't seen in a while. I mean, you can just tell by this last month, people are just, we're ready. We're looking forward to the launch this weekend, and today we sit at L-2 with a vehicle at the launch pad. A vehicle that eventually will bring crew members. Like we said, this one uncrewed, but eventually we'll be bringing crew members to the International Space Station, and it's just a pleasure to be there. On orbit, the crew has checked out the interface, the docking interface. The docking interface looks good. It's a robotic checkout we do. We're also doing other things on board. Checking out cameras. Clearing the port where they'll be going. Making sure there's no stowaways there for the vehicle as they come in and once you open the hatches everything is good to go. And again, this is just first event in March. Just two weeks later, we'll have a Soyuz launch out of Baikonur, Kazakhstan. We'll be bringing three more crew members. Getting us back to the nominal six crew members on board the International Space Station. And we'll stay in that configuration with six crew until this summer.

With that I'd like to show a video of the crew we have on orbit. [video begins] So launched in early December, three crew members. Obviously on the Soyuz spacecraft out of Baikonur. You see just a beautiful picture of the International Space Station and the approach. The welcome crew. Here is an experiment called SPHERES. This is an awesome experiment. High school students are selected to design algorithms for these two [robots] that do docking testing on orbit. And we use this for other explorations in space, other spacecraft. Here you see the crew members working on the Robotic Refueling Mission tool hardware. And so this is hardware that was flown inside the International Space Station. It'll be put on the Japanese slide table that'll go outside the International Space Station. And it's a test on how we refuel satellites. Now this is some older video of an earlier part of this mission. The Refueling Mission number 2. You see where we were installing an [inaudible] and there you'll see some little water droplets. Refueling spacecraft is something that we're doing testing on the International Space Station, and that's going to play forward to other science and other experiments and other satellites, and give us the ability to refuel satellites.

You see here an exploration project where we're taking pictures of the moon. We're actually using the moon for some navigational techniques with the Orion spacecraft. Here you see the SpaceX-16 mission that was launched and then berthed to the International Space Station. [time-lapse video begins] If you thought Hans's video was fast, I figured I can top that. [laughter] So just the crew doing some stowage activities. You saw a little picture of Valentine's Day, with the crew doing little hearts [with their hands]. And then here you have a bone marrow experiment. And what's interesting on the bone marrow experiment is you can apply that to people who are in bed rest on Earth. So we're doing experiments on board the International Space Station that directly apply to people here on Earth. So with that, that video shows you three crew members that are extremely happy. It's a pleasure to see the smiles on their face, to watch them on a daily basis. It's good to have another Canadian astronaut on board, along with our other crew members. Just today, there was, you probably heard, a press brief with the Prime Minister of Canada, where they announced that they'd be joining the Gateway exploration program. And you know, we're using Space Station today to test exploration techniques, to do science, and do research. We're using it to leave, you know, eventually we'll leave low Earth orbit, and what we learn today on Space Station is going to apply. So with that, I want to thank you again, and I'll hand it over to Pat.

Pat Forrester, Astronaut Office: Great. Thanks Joel. First of all, I've got to tell you it's great to be back at Kennedy Space Center. And it's not just because of the fine people and the exceptional facilities. It's because this is where I left planet Earth each time I went to space. And the prospect of being part of the prospect that will allow our current and future astronauts to do that again is pretty exciting for me. It'll be more exciting when we come back for DM-2. When we can put Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on top of that rocket for our test mission. But even though a lot of progress has been made, there's still a lot of work that we need to do. And we're looking forward to working as a team with SpaceX to get that done. The launch, early in the morning on Saturday, is definitely a milestone.

There's another milestone, we've touched on it a little bit, and that's on Sunday, when this thing docks to the International Space Station. Because although we don't have any astronauts on DM-1, we do have them on the space station. Joel showed you a great video of them. We have three of them. NASA astronaut, Army Lieutenant Colonel Anne McClain. CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques. And Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. And they have been preparing and training to receive this vehicle. And it also helps us to remind of the risk that's involved, despite the fact that there's no one launching, there is always human life at risk. And so we want to stay focused. And we want to stay vigilant. And we want to continue to move down this path that we've started. I heard from Anne, just before coming over here to the press site. And to echo her words, she is humbled and feels privileged to have a front-row seat to this historic event. They are looking forward to what all SpaceX can do and where we go with Commercial Crew as we bring more crew members aboard.

And just as you saw, there's three up there now. In two short weeks we'll be over in Kazakhstan with the Russians launching another crew of three. And that's typically what we've had up there most of the time, is six people. And once we start regular flying of crew on Commercial Crew, we're going to have the ability to have seven crew members up there. And that may not seem like a big jump, but statistics tell us that having one more crew member up there, we can almost double the science and the research that's being done. Think about being at home. There's a lot of maintenance that's required on the space station. There's a lot of maintenance required around your house. How many times have you thought, if I just had one more set of hands, I could get ahead, I could get what I need done. So we're looking forward to move in that direction. And again, it's a privilege to be here.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Thank you, Pat. Melody?

Melody Lovin, 45th Weather Squadron: Good afternoon. Well, if you haven't heard already, I have some pretty good news to share, as far as the weather goes during the launch window, early Saturday morning. It looks pretty good. Let's go ahead and go to infrared imagery. First, I want to explain a little bit. When you look at the satellite imagery, you're looking at an infrared image. And so the colder the cloud tops, the higher the storm. So when you see yellows and reds, those are higher cloud tops. Right now we do actually have a pretty minor disturbance located across the Florida panhandle. And it's slowly shifting to the east, and that shift is going to continue overnight today and into tomorrow morning. And all it really is going to do is send us some cloud cover across the area, arriving late tonight. It's going to linger for much of the day tomorrow, but the good news is we should have high pressure building from south to north across the Florida peninsula. It's a pretty week high pressure. But it's going to be just enough to clear our clouds out of the way in time for the launch window around 2:48AM. And we'll go to the next slide.

So here is the forecast for your primary launch window on early Saturday morning. We're going for a pretty light west-southwesterly wind. At the surface it'll be much lighter than that, but up at 200 ft where the rocket extends to, we're expecting 10-15 mph. A comfortable 65 degrees. The only concerns we have are with the thick cloud rule and the cumulus cloud rule for perhaps any lingering cloud cover that didn't clear out on time. We're going in 80% go for launch. And for the backup window, lets go to the next slide. Okay now, the delay window is actually 72 hours after, so we're looking at really early Tuesday morning for this. So because this is more in the future, it's a little bit harder to nail down what the weather's going to be. Just because models diverge a lot as we get into the future. But right now we're actually pretty confident that there's going to be a frontal boundary generally within the vicinity of the space coast during this time. And because of that, our probabilities are a little bit more pessimistic. We're only going about 60% go for launch. Our primary concerns are flight through precipitation during this scenario, but we also continue to have concerns for the cumulus and the thick cloud rules during that time. Our winds do still look to be pretty light, though, during that time, out of the north-northeast, 10-15 mph with temperature of 62 degrees. And that is all I have for you. Enjoy the launch.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: We will now take questions from those of you in the room. To insure that everyone has a possibility of ask a question, we ask that everyone keep it to one question only. When I call on you, please state your name and affiliation, and to whom you're addressing your question. So we'll start with Marcia.

Marcia Dunn, Associated Press: Marcia Dunn, Associated Press. For Hans. You used the word historic. This is all brand new territory for SpaceX. Could you talk about what this means to your team and the emotions going on right now? And I'm also wondering if, since last Friday, you've got wind of the Dragon rider's name?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: About the what?

Marcia Dunn, Associated Press: The Dragon rider's name. The mannequin's name.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Oh yeah. [laughs] Good. Yeah. SpaceX was, early on, our goal was human spaceflight. And obviously towards Mars. So, the human spaceflight part is a core value or business of SpaceX. And we've been working at developing rockets and spacecraft for I guess close to 17 years by now? And this is basically, for the team, it's a culmination of what we were founded for, to some extent. This is what we wanted to do. Early Dragon 1 had a window on the side, and this was clearly a hint to everybody, we want to fly humans into space. And we want to do this, this is our goal, this is why we are actually there. So clearly super important for us and incredible. I guess both important, important that we do this and get it done right, and continue then, flying more and more human missions over the next couple of years. I'm actually humbled by being at that point after almost 17 years of working this, it's pretty amazing to do this. And with respect to the, well, I said dummy, it's actually a smarty, right? It has lots of sensors, so we call it a smarty. And her name is Ripley. Her name is Ripley. [murmuring and laughter] Yes.

Unmic'd audience member: Why?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Alien. [laughter]

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Let's go to Bill Harwood.

Bill Harwood, CBS News: Bill Harwood, CBS. Pat, since you're here representing the Crew Office, can you maybe give us a little perspective? Hans mentioned the Flight Termination System gets activated at 37 minutes. And load and go is something totally unique to SpaceX when it comes to human spaceflight. So can you maybe give us the crew's perspective on putting the astronauts on board before fueling in the wake of the COPV problems in the past and all of that, and the Flight Termination System? How comfortable you guys are with that whole sequence.

Pat Forrester, Astronaut Office: Well obviously, the safety of our crew is most important to us. And working with SpaceX, understanding this process, and the reason they do it, and how they do it, we came to the conclusion that this is an acceptable risk that we were willing to take. I can turn it over to Kathy if I need to, but we got comfortable with it. We would not be doing it if it was not what we had agreed to.

Bill Harwood, CBS News: Well, was there anything specific--

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: One term, the term Flight Termination means something else. You're talking about the Launch Escape System. Very different. The Flight Termination System, a traditional one, stops the rocket, and then Launch Escape is the one that saves the astronauts.

Bill Harwood, CBS News: Yeah, I misspoke. I'm sorry about that.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: I understand.

Bill Harwood, CBS News: I appreciate that. Oh, I'll just leave it at that then, what the heck. [laughter]

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Irene.

Irene Klotz, Aviation Week: Thanks. Irene Klotz with Aviation Week. Maybe for Joel. What was the resolution of the issue that the Russians had with the Dragon flight computer not having the backup or a separate box for approach? And also if there were any variances that needed to be granted for this flight? I guess that would be for Kathy. Thanks.

Joel Montalbano, ISS Program: I'll take the first question. So we agreed with Roscosmos yesterday on a protocol of the approach. Actually, through discussions with them explaining the steps that SpaceX has taken in order to insure the safety, they asked for some additional steps. What would happen, even though it's a very remote case, what would happen if it were to happen, and they wanted us to take some steps where we would protect the space station, close another hatch or two, have the crew ready to go in the Soyuz. We agreed to do that, we worked that with the crew, if you were to have this very remote failure. So, everything's working fine. You know, we have gates throughout the profile that says the spacecraft has to meet these gates in order to go forward. So this would be, everything is still working, and then you would have this failure that they're worried about, then we would take these extra measures. But they've agreed with that. The flight control teams are working with that. They're finalizing the procedures today, and they agreed and concurred. They signed the protocol to concur with the launch and docking.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: So, there's really two sets of requirements that govern this mission. The most important set is really what we call the 50808, which is the Visiting Vehicle requirement set that Station has defined for all vehicles coming to the International Space Station. All vehicles have variances to those requirements, because they're tailored for those particular vehicles. But I'll tell you Irene, both programs have gone through and assessed the variances and accepted it, and like Kirk talked about last Friday, we understand the risks and have accepted them and closed them out for these flights.

Irene Klotz, Aviation Week: Can you be any more specific?

Kathy Lueders, CCP: I mean, I don't have the whole list of variances off the top of my head, but I mean, there's always tailoring that's involved. And there's always specific limits for each system. But overall, there's no compromise on the ISS crew safety and assessment of that. So all of our basic requirements have to be met from a crew safety perspective and assessed with the tailoring and risk assessments in each of those statements. I can't give you, you know, off the top of my head, all the variances. I'd be a very smart program manager, and I need to work on that a little bit more. So.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Okay, Chris? Directly behind. Chris Davenport.

Christian Davenport, Washington Post: Hi, Chris Davenport from the Washington Post. For Hans or Kathy I guess. At the briefing on Friday, Gerst had talked about some problem with the thrusters on the Dragon, and sort of didn't quite understand what the problem was or how you're going to mitigate that for this flight, because that was the first time I heard about that. I wonder if you could just, to understand that a little bit better?

Kathy Lueders, CCP: Well, I think, I can talk about it a little bit, because we've been working as a joint team on it. I think there was, you know, we always learn about the vehicles. And the SpaceX folks had gone to thermal vac testing last summer. And obviously, as you understand, thermally, how the vehicle's going to operate during the regime, they were applying that thermal environment then to their Draco testing, and ended up finding out that for the full environment this mission to be originally operated within, the Dracos didn't like that environment. They weren't operating that well within that environment. So actually what NASA and SpaceX have done and worked together on is developing an operational mission that constrains the operating temperatures that those thrusters then have to work within, to be able to safely accomplish the mission. So we're, obviously it's another place that you learn, while you're doing your integrated testing, we're taking that learning, and we'll apply that learning to the Crewed Dragon, and we'll be applying heaters to the lines, and doing different things to make sure that, for the DM-2 mission, we're not having to constrain the mission in the same way. Hopefully we explained it a little bit better the second time around. Sorry.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Question right here. Ken Kremer.

Ken Kremer, SpaceUpClose: Hi, thanks. Ken Kremer, for SpaceUpClose/RocketSTEM. First, good luck on everything. It is a very exciting day, like you said. For Hans, my question is, can you tell us, how close to Demo-2 is going to be to this Demo-1? Are all the systems the same? Especially life support. Or are there some systems you still need to work on and add for the Demo-2 capsule. Thanks.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Yeah. I would say the systems are very similar, but there's still some work to be done. You mentioned life support. The system on Demo-2 is slightly bigger, bigger sized, basically, ja? But it's the same components, for example. The majority of the components flying on Demo-1 is going to be exactly the same, but then again, for example, certain software will continue to be developed. And certain tests that are currently in the works will be, like on the heater system [looks at Kathy], that also obviously needs to be tested and then verified that it actually does the job properly. So I would say there's a lot of detail that we have to work through, but in general, that it's the same vehicle overall.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: I think there's two drivers. One was, what's the goal of the uncrewed mission? So we talked about the objectives, right? So, because this is, it's not reused, we worked with SpaceX on which parts of the system should be on board, because we don't have a crew on board. So what part of the ECLSS system do we need to have on board to be able to collect the data to make sure we can then use that data to apply it to the next mission. And so that's kind of one difference. And the other difference is obviously, if we found things late in testing that we want to change and improve on for DM-2, obviously we're working and SpaceX is working to make the DM-2 vehicle better. So there's really two categories of differences between DM-1 and DM-2. The stuff that we didn't need, because it's not crewed, you don't need, obviously, crew interfaces, unless Ripley's going to start flying the vehicle, which I don't think is going to happen, right? [panel laughs] And then the second piece is, the stuff that we found in the last six to nine months. The capsule had been basically done, but we're applying that learning to then the DM-2 vehicle.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: And you know, looking forward, obviously, this is a test flight, so we will learn things, and we will gather experience with our subsystems, and we might find something that might have to be applied for Demo-2, so I wouldn't be surprised if that happens. We'll see how it goes.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: Right.

Ken Kremer, SpaceUpClose: But any changes that you might make, you would still think you would make the July target?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Depends a little bit on how it goes, but there's really a lot of ingenuity in both teams here. For example, that thruster thing that we found, I think the solution is really great, and we worked this through in a relatively short time. So if it's something similar like that, I would expect us to find a similar operational solution here.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Okay, we'll take one last question here in the room before going to the phone bridge.

Jeff Foust, SpaceNews: Hi, Jeff Foust with SpaceNews. For Hans, can you talk a little bit about how the approach of Crew Dragon to ISS is going to be different from the cargo Dragon? I mean, obviously it's a docking and not a berthing, but what's the approach going to be like for the spacecraft?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: It's a great question, actually. So there's two fundamentally different approaches to the ISS. One is the R-bar, and the other one's the V-bar. I guess it's radial, and then velocity. And Dragon 1 was climbing up the R-bar and then hovering basically under the ISS. And I showed a video last time trying to demonstrate that because you can really see how it moves back and forth in its box, and then the arm comes, and grabs it, and moves it over to a berthing port. This one, however, is different. This one is active, in a way that it will climb up in front of the station, and then approach the station from the velocity vector, and use a docking port on its own. There's no arm required. Which it's, for the overall mission, less parts are needed so it's a little bit more reliable, when it's worked out. And on the other side, it's a very different dynamic approach than the R-bar. On the V-bar, you basically have to actively accelerate and brake to get towards the station. Versus on the R-bar, if you do nothing, you would slowly fall away and move away from the station. So it's a different philosophy, and I guess at the end of the day we will use all different methods for human spaceflight here, and so for us it's an extension of our capabilities.

Joel Montalbano, ISS Program: And on the approach, the vehicle will come in to about 150 meters on the V-bar. As it comes a little closer, the crew will test a retreat command. The vehicle will move back out to about 180 meters or so. Sit there for about ten minutes. And this is all part of the testing we do to insure the safety of the space station. Then it'll be commanded in. It'll do one more stop at about 20 meters for a little bit. Again, just to do some testing, make sure everything is good to go. And then come in for docking. So this is a profile we've worked with SpaceX and we're comfortable as the International Space Station accepting this vehicle.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: So we're going to go to the phone. And we have Eric Berger with Ars Technica.

Eric Berger, Ars Technica: [audio begins abruptly] --dress the plans for hatch opening on Station when this Dragon docks up on Station, assuming everything goes well? I take it there's some kind of, maybe, ceremony planned, or something like that?

Joel Montalbano, ISS Program: And so, right now the plan is that hatch opening will be about two hours and forty-five minutes after docking. The first thing that we have scheduled is, the crew will do some atmosphere checkout of the vehicle. And so a US crew member and a Russian crew member will go inside the vehicle. They have some atmosphere monitoring hardware they'll take out. They'll bring it in to the International Space Station part, in the US lab. Do some kind of baseline calibration. Go back in the vehicle, just test everything out. And then we'll continue working with the mission.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Very good. So at this point we'll take a question from social media.

NASA Social Media: Stephen Smith on twitter asks, how will capsule recovery operations change for SpaceX with the addition of human spaceflight?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: I guess that goes to me. Fundamentally, it's the same water landing as it is on Dragon 1. It's a little bit more important to get closer to it, and so we have a ship on standby, and we'll get very close to the capsule, as close as it is safe. I don't think there's fundamentally a difference, particularly on this one. But this one also has all the infrastructure in place to work with astronauts coming back. So there's going to be medical, and emergency, and everything is in place for this mission. Although it's more a practice run on this mission, just to make sure that we are ready for Demo-2.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Thank you, we'll take a question right here.

Dave Mosher, Business Insider: Hi, this is Dave Mosher with Business Insider and Insider. I think this is either for Kathy or Hans, or both. Tell me a little bit more about Ripley. Someone mentioned previously that it'll have sensors in it. What are those sensors looking for? What are you trying to ascertain from that? And the other half of my question is, after you get this capsule back on the ground, how long is it going to take you, from a programmatic standpoint, to say that this was a success, and here's why? What does that look like?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: I can try and answer your Ripley question. It's obviously sensors that measure forces and acceleration, and then the environment itself. The goal is to get an idea of how we humans would feel in her place, basically. I don't expect a lot of surprises there, but you know, it's better to verify, make sure that it's safe, and everything is comfortable for our astronauts going out on the next flight of the capsule. With respect to success, I don't think we need, I mean, this is something that we'll build up to in the mission, and we will, during the mission, see if we can check off certain expectations and what we wanted to test out. I see this as a continuous check basically, during the entire mission.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: I kept calling the ATD Riley, so I'm glad you found out it was Ripley. [laughs] Sorry. Really, this data is pretty invaluable. So obviously there's going to be a ton of data coming down. The crew environment, and seeing how the seat attenuation, you know, how well the seats attenuate and protect the crew members, and the overall vehicle, is really, really critical for us. Because we've done tons of water landing testing, parachute testing. All these little individual pieces. But actually having a reentry with Ripley in the seat, in the position, is critical. And obviously all this data from the mission, we've been working with SpaceX obviously, we've instrumented the crap out of this vehicle. [laughter] I mean, it's got data, sensors, everywhere, so that we can kind of go take that, and stick it in the models, and assess whether what we were predicting was accurate. And so we can use that moving forward. We're going to learn a ton from this mission.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: And so we'll go straight to the back.

Chuck Fields, Online Coffee Break: Thank you. Chuck Fields, Online Coffee Break. Hans, this is for you. Last year, the video of Starman just captured the hearts and imagination around the world. Are there going to be any video cameras inside Crew Dragon? Possibly aimed at Ripley? And if so, are you going to live video steam any of those during any parts of the mission?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Yeah. There will be video cameras, and there will be nice views, and we will give you a perspective that you would have if you were inside. So I'm pretty sure we will create another nice video. [laughs]

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Okay. So we have a question right here.

Tariq Malik, Thank you, Tariq Malik with, I think my question is for Joel. You mentioned kind of the different mood at the space center for this launch. It's been eight years, almost, since the last crew capable spacecraft did launch from the space center. This is kind of a shift in operations here. And I'm just kind of wondering about that milestone, how it feels from a Station perspective to be at this point. And Hans, the development you've put so much work into, the pad itself. You've flown two different types of rockets, now a third type of spacecraft from the vehicle. Kind of what that milestone means. Given that we're just five years after the Commercial Crew award in 2014.

Joel Montalbano, ISS Program: Yeah, so from my standpoint, it's exciting to be here today. You know, Pat mentioned that with the fourth crew, we're going to double our crew time on utilization and research, on board the International Space Station. And while we've been waiting for this, Roscosmos has been a great partner, as well as all the other international partners, in helping us to get to where we are today. So to me, this is just the next step in our evolution, of maximizing the utilization of the International Space Station. So from an ISS Program standpoint, we're waiting for this. We're excited. We're ready. And we couldn't be happier.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Yeah. I mean, I tried to explain earlier how important this was for SpaceX. How basically it reflects what we were founded for, and so on. But also, you know, on a personal level, this is an extremely important mission. I mean, every mission is important, but this is even more important. And I'm pretty sure it's not just me. I think everybody in SpaceX feels this and wants to get this right and puts a lot of effort in there. Our lives are basically driven by launch dates. And this particular launch dates sticks out long ahead. As will, obviously, In-Flight Abort. As will Demo-2 be. I can't even imagine how important that's going to be.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Thank you. So we'll take a question in the front.

John McGill, Wyandotte Cable and News: John McGill with Wyandotte Cable and News. This is for Kathy, Hans, and Joel. If you could just talk a little bit about the bonds and trust that's formed between the three of you, your three different aspects.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: I think the amazing part of this whole mission is honestly that it is about three partners. We would not be here where we were today if we didn't have SpaceX's ingenuity, Space Station's patience [laughs], and the Commercial Crew Program's teams continued endeavor to try and do things a little bit different, and listen to their partners, right? So it's really taken all three of us working together. And sometimes tussling a little bit. But you know, figuring out how to make this work as a team. And as a team we're going to fly. And as a team we're going to accomplish this mission. And it's going to be a real amazing thing.

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Yeah. I mean, it's [laughs] to some extent an experiment to put two organizations together that are as different as SpaceX and NASA. But you know, one thing we learned, actually, we're not that different in the end. We're engineers, and we want to get this done safely and you know, in a nice reliable solution that is robust and able to withstand the environments. So obviously we had to get to this point where we learn from each other. And I'm personally convinced that this has made, certainly, SpaceX better, to have NASA guide us, and to look at requirements, and to try to question requirements, and what's the true reason behind those requirements, and then basically comply with the overall safety culture that NASA taught us, I would say, to some extent. And so I feel like it certainly made a better SpaceX and made better engineers out of the SpaceX engineers. And I really appreciate that very much.

Kathy Lueders, CCP: I definitely can tell you it made better NASA engineers out of the experience, too.

Joel Montalbano, ISS Program: And to me, it's like a family. We've had the luxury of working with the SpaceX team on cargo missions and learning how they operate. They've learned how we operate. Bringing in the Commercial Crew Program and bringing the three of us together, it's been fantastic. When you work with physics, that's the coolest thing, because physics is the same no matter where you go. And we work together. There's things where we have this requirement, but maybe we can't get what exactly, and can you help us there. And the ISS Program helps, or the Commercial Crew Program helps, or SpaceX helps. We're all pulling and pushing throughout the process. It's been incredible. You know, you make friends, our engineers are calling up different people in the crew program and the SpaceX team, and vice versa. And they're doing not only work stuff, but they're doing family things, too. So to me it's been fantastic.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: So we have time for one last question. We'll go right here.

Robert Perlman, collectSPACE: Hi, Robert Perlman with collectSPACE. I think for Hans. Can you talk a little bit about the launch control for this flight? Are you flying out of the LCC or out of the Cape side? And what size is the team, and are you integrating NASA people into the team for this launch?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: Yes, excellent question. We are actually in Firing Room 4 in, I guess it's called the Launch Control Center, too? They're all called Launch Control Centers. The, I guess, historic Apollo/Shuttle control center right in front of the VAB. It's pretty amazing to be in there. We basically moved, our consoles are pretty much just monitors and software, so we moved them over there, and we're enjoying a great view to the pad. We integrated NASA operators within us. So we are slightly, the team on the SpaceX side is pretty much the same size, but then we integrated NASA in preparation to the crew interface. So it's, we had several missions where we trained that. It worked very well. I'm really looking forward to sit between Kirk and Steve, there. And we also integrated NASA into the decision flow. So it's going to be a joint team launching this rocket and controlling Dragon on the way to the ISS.

Robert Perlman, collectSPACE: And when do you hand off to Hawthorne? What's the milestone?

Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX: We typically handoff to Hawthorne. It's very similar, right after separation, Hawthorne takes over. But you know, it's interesting, these control rooms, you do what you do, and I often don't realize where I am, except when I look up and realize, oh, I'm actually in Florida. Or I'm in Hawthorne, ja? I do the same job for almost every launch these days, and it's very, I want to say it's very virtual. You just focus on what you see and what you hear on your headset.

Stephanie Martin, Moderator: Okay. So that's going wrap things up here for today. For the media here at Kennedy Space Center, the NASA Administrator will be joined by our NASA astronauts assigned to SpaceX missions. Tomorrow they will be here 4PM to do a media Q&A. And our launch coverage for the SpaceX Demo-1 mission off of Pad 39A will begin at 2AM for the 2:49AM launch. To follow along with this mission, you can follow along at and to follow along once it's attached to station, please follow along at Thank you so much.

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